grief journey

Seeing the Light – Hope for Widows blog

The overhead lights in the hallway started flickering again a couple of weeks ago. This hasn’t happened in a while, not a long while. When Rick first died, the ceiling lights in the kitchen started to flicker one night. I was washing dishes and could see them flickering out of the corner of my eye, but, oddly, when I looked in the reflection in the window above my sink, I couldn’t see it. I glanced to the side again, and yeah they were flickering. I looked in the window, no they weren’t. And somehow, after reading stories written by many widows who talked about signs from their husbands, I came to believe that it was Rick. That whatever electrical current of life had run through him, was now trying to signal to me from beyond.

And at first, I was filled with happiness thinking (deluding myself?) that he was near. Then, I wanted more. I wanted badly for him to give me more of a sign, to somehow try to tell me what he wanted to say. But eventually, I gave up on that idea. I knew I’d never get any special message. I knew I was lucky simply to feel that he was nearby, that I could feel his presence in the room. So, whenever the lights in my house flickered, I just grew comfortable with it, and enjoyed the sensation that he loved me and watched over me. And I began a little routine. Anytime the lights started to flicker, I’d just say, “Hi honey. I missed you.” And I’d think about him and I’d picture the little light flickers as his way of saying, “hi” back.

After about a year or so, it didn’t seem to happen as much anymore. In fact, I almost forgot about it until a couple weeks ago, when those hallway lights started to flicker. And after the surprise of it, I said, “Hi honey, I’m so glad you came back.” And felt that warm glow that the man I loved may be here with me, just for a bit.

Should I go to a psych ward right now? Or should I just claim the stresses of the day as the cause? Whatever the reason – delusion or mystery of the universe – I like hearing from him.

Read the rest of the blog on the Hope for Widows website.

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at

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